Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Exercising democracy (twice)

"It doesn't bother me if Afghans have two registration cards. If they'd like to vote twice, well welcome, this is an exercise in democracy, let them exercise it twice."
--Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, in Sunday's New York Times, referring to the problems of the upcoming elections in Afghanistan, where more people are registered than were originally thought to have been eligible.
The BBC also reports that there may be fewer than 100 foreign election monitors by election day, and mentions that the OSCE will not monitor the elections:
In their report, the OSCE team raise another issue: whether too much scrutiny of the Afghan political process at its current stage of development could actually be detrimental.

Monitoring is a "double-edged sword," the report says, "enhancing credibility where the process receives favourable comment, but challenging public confidence if observation identifies substantial failings".

As things stand now, the OSCE says monitoring the Afghan elections in the way it has others "would not be fair, helpful or constructive".
Of course there are also security considerations, but it strikes me as odd that the response of this international body to a poor electoral climate is simply to avoid the situation altogether.

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